By Dr Mary Rose Micallef – Junior Associate
Yesterday, the Maltese Department of Information published Legal Notice 137 of 2020, namely “Code of Organization and Civil Procedure (Amendment of Schedule A) Regulations, 2020”. This legal notice is to be read in conjunction with Schedule A of the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure.
Schedule A is merely a ‘price list’ that determines and regulates the judicial costs of judicial acts.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, in ordinary days, the court registry (during the winter season) operates from Monday to Friday between 09:00hrs and 15:00hrs.
People who wanted to file judicial acts outside the abovementioned days or hours had to open the court registry at an extra cost – this in accordance to the price that is listed in the same said Tariff.
Courts of justice including tribunals and other judicial bodies along with their respective registries were closed off by virtue of Legal Notice 65 of 2020, entitled “Closure of the Courts of Justice Order, 2020”. This closure was triggered after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The closure of the court registry essentially means that any type of judicial filing whatsoever, must be done at an extra cost in accordance to the opening of registry tariffs.
This recent Legal Notice does away with the opening of registry tariffs when it comes to filing of certain judicial acts, which are namely the following:-
– Acts relating to personal separation cases;
– Acts relating to divorce or annulment cases;
– Acts relating to maintenance matters;
– Acts relating to filiation or paternity procedures;
– Acts relating to child abduction or custody matters;
– Executive or precautionary acts;
The latter kind of judicial acts relate to all type of warrants, such as the notorious garnishee order, judicial sale by auction(“subbasta”) and warrants of seizures. Such warrants must however be related to matters concerning the list above.
Issues surrounding these types of judicial acts, usually require immediate or efficient intervention; otherwise parties may end up suffering irreparable prejudice.
The exigencies of these type of judicial acts has driven the legislator to waive off the extra judicial costs.
Acts relating to such matters can now be filed during the abovementioned hours and days, in an ordinary manner.
The court registry will be only opened for the filing of such cases.
Other judicial acts, or acts filed outside the court working hours would still trigger the opening of registry fees.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be considered as legal advice, and is not to be acted on as such. Should you require further information or legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.